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What would be, for lack of a better term, the "big fifth" of cymbal companies?

Vicey

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Stupid question, perhaps, but do we know how much of Z's reported revenue comes from drumsticks rather than cymbals? I'm not doubting that they're the 500-pound gorilla of the industry, but maybe they're a 475-pound gorilla with 25 pounds of sticks in its pockets.
 

mtarrani

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Stupid question, perhaps, but do we know how much of Z's reported revenue comes from drumsticks rather than cymbals? I'm not doubting that they're the 500-pound gorilla of the industry, but maybe they're a 475-pound gorilla with 25 pounds of sticks in its pockets.
I think Zildjian's revenue from drumsticks is probably significantly overshadowed by Promark's revenue from drumsticks. That company seems to be the 500 pound gorilla in the drumstick world. But, on the other hand, there is the Zildjian-Vic Firth connection, so you may be on to something.
 

Mcjnic

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Oh, believe me, I know. I have been in technology for longer than many folks here have been alive. Things that were supposed to last forever went extinct with surprising regularity. Ever hear of DRI, Micropro, Software Arts/Visicorp or even DEC? They are evidence of what you said. But others in our niche have seemingly been around forever (decades and centuries), such as N&C, Gretsch, Ludwig, and, well, Zildjian.

This one hit a spot with me.
I used to work as a computer systems engineer for Dr. Wang's conglomerate ... Wang Global.
What once was ... there's a statement for the times.
 

mtarrani

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This one hit a spot with me.
I used to work as a computer systems engineer for Dr. Wang's conglomerate ... Wang Global.
What once was ... there's a statement for the times.
We had Wang systems on the USS Kitty Hawk circa 1977!!!!
 

John DeChristopher

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Yup, $61.3 mil for the big Z!
Meinl sells a ton of percussion to schools, they have always been very diverse, cymbal making was not their original product.

Paiste is tiny @ $7.1 mil, Zildjian is almost 10 TIMES larger!!!

I assume Zildjian's number includes Vic Firth, which is almost half. And also Zildjian drumstick and accessory revenue.

In a small market, in my case Sweden, the impact of the cymbal companies are almost always connected to the distributor och often just one person at the distributor.
In the 70's there were Zildjian, Paiste (2002's) and just a bit of Ufip.
The last 20 years I've seen Zildjian been overhauled by Sabian, then Meinl. But that is in visibility, and actually down to the distributer and a handful of drummers - the drummers that everyone knows about and talk about.

I'd say Meinl's impact the last five (or rather three) years has been remarkably big.

Don't know the sales figures though...
You are 100% correct. Outside the US, the distributors' influence makes all the difference in terms of sales.

And you'll almost always see artists connected to the brands associated with that region's distributor. For example, in Japan you'll see mostly Yamaha-Zildjian artists or Pearl-Sabian artists. In Germany, where Meinl distributes Tama, you'll see Tama-Meinl artists. I believe Pearl Germany still distributes Zildjian, so you'll see Pearl-Zildjian artists in Germany. It's not 100%, but in many cases it works this way.

Finally, I stated a while back Meinl was #3 or possibly #2, but Paiste is definitely #4. My feeling is Sabian is still the #2 brand in actual global cymbal sales. Meinl is a huge company, and no doubt they're a major player in the cymbal market, but their numbers don't reflect only cymbal sales.

So I'd still go with Zildjian #1, Sabian #2, Meinl #3, Paiste #4 and #5...? Whoever the #5 brand is, I still think there's a lot of daylight between them and Paiste at #4.
 

Mcjnic

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We had Wang systems on the USS Kitty Hawk circa 1977!!!!

Man, I remember those HUGE memory cards for the big memory boxes ... like the size of coffee tables.
Amazing stuff.
 

John DeChristopher

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Big John, I agree %100!
Several months ago I did a "Dun & Bradstreet" search for the "big 4", it lists the companies gross annual sales revenue: Zil are the giants of the industry! Sabian in 2nd. place, Meinl a strong 3rd. and poor little Paiste is bringing up the rear in 4th! :crybaby:
I'm afraid Paiste cannot compete with the others because of their sky high manufacturing costs, especially against Meinl where most of their product line is completely automated...... :mad:
Poor little Paiste, eh? They seem to be doing alright to me ;)
Those of us who work/worked in the industry know that looks can be deceiving. I know there are a lot of Paiste fans here, and you can count me as one of them, but they are struggling in the US market, and have been for the past 20 or more years.

But I'll add... you can never write them off. They make fabulous instruments and their customers are extremely loyal and they will always have a seat at the table in the cymbal market.
 

Donzy

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So it's known that Zildjian, Sabian, Paiste and Meinl are the "big four" of cymbal companies in terms of age, size of the artist roster, innovation and sales but with all the companies that have been sprouting up in recent years what would be the company you'd add to that category if we were to round up the big four to a solid round five? I can think of two - in terms of age, UFIP. Been making cymbals since 1931 which is before Sabian and Meinl even started and and before even really Paiste got a strong leg in the game with more modern cymbals. In terms of overall popularity and innovation, Istanbul Agop. Especially since the people who started the company cut their teeth making the first few variations of the Zildjian K line and have kept the idea of "Turkish made" cymbals alive. They've also introduced a ton of new ideas and concepts over the past few years and have had no trouble expanding their roster and quite a few artists who used to endorse one of the "big four" have moved over to them over the years more so than any other newer brand.
UFiP surely
 

Monday317

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So it's known that Zildjian, Sabian, Paiste and Meinl are the "big four" of cymbal companies in terms of age, size of the artist roster, innovation and sales but with all the companies that have been sprouting up in recent years what would be the company you'd add to that category if we were to round up the big four to a solid round five? I can think of two - in terms of age, UFIP. Been making cymbals since 1931 which is before Sabian and Meinl even started and and before even really Paiste got a strong leg in the game with more modern cymbals. In terms of overall popularity and innovation, Istanbul Agop. Especially since the people who started the company cut their teeth making the first few variations of the Zildjian K line and have kept the idea of "Turkish made" cymbals alive. They've also introduced a ton of new ideas and concepts over the past few years and have had no trouble expanding their roster and quite a few artists who used to endorse one of the "big four" have moved over to them over the years more so than any other newer brand.
Probably Istanbul Mehmet. Mehmet seems very much in demand, has a wide line of products and command premium prices.

That said, while I own Bosporus and like them a great deal, I couldn’t say they are big enough for this fifth slot.

In both cases, the hand-hammered instruments as made in Turkey today are unbeatable in sound to the point my audiences complement my set and other drummers often ask what I’m playing and where to get them.

None of the Big Four listed above can match their tones, though they deserve kudos for consistency within their product lines. Gone are the days when you had to whack 20 different 22” K Custom Dark Rides for example, at four or five shops to find The ONE for your ears. With computer-aided design & manufacturing, you can pretty much buy one online with confidence it will work for you.

Not so with the handmade Turkish cymbals. Thank God for the vendors like Memphis Drum Shop and Cymbals Only who provide great sound samples of the exact cymbal you are interested in! It would be a real trial to hunt down a local retailer with any decent stock on the floor for these otherwise; the Big Four just crowds them out.
 

mtarrani

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I wonder if Wuhan is somewhere close. We seem to be focused on the Americas and European markets, but I cannot help but think that perhaps the Asian market and the market for blanks, etc. may be significant enough to consider Wuhan. I realize that Wuhan is more a region than a single company, as is Istanbul as a whole. That beings me to Istanbul too - rumor has it that a small group of companies manufacture the bulk of "Turkish" cymbals.
 

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As a future 5th, I’d throw Koide Cymbals into the mix. In terms of sales percentages in the USA or Europe, Koide has little to no percentage as of now, but in terms of being an innovative and established company by modern standards, Koide may fit in the mix in a few years. Koide has only been available outside of Japan for three years. Both the proprietary alloys used and manufacturing processes used with Koide are as unique as UFIP, which sets these two companies apart from both Chinese and the many Turkish products, and a viable competitor to the big 4 in comparison in product. It’s a major up hill battle for market share, but in terms of quality and forward looking manufacturing, Koide Cymbals will eventually get a foothold in the coming years.
 

Vicey

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I think Zildjian's revenue from drumsticks is probably significantly overshadowed by Promark's revenue from drumsticks. That company seems to be the 500 pound gorilla in the drumstick world. But, on the other hand, there is the Zildjian-Vic Firth connection, so you may be on to something.
Yeah: I don't know whether Zildjian's stick sales would end up in their statement or on Vic Firth's.
Maybe Paiste just needs to buy Regal Tip and get into the game.
 

JazzDoc

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FWIW, I hardly ever see anyone (at any level) playing Meinl. The contrast would be in Europe, where I do see more of them in stores and more endorsers. Most amateur and lower level drummers I come across are playing Zildjian, Sabian or Paiste.
I've seen some truly excellent players playing Meinl. Benny Greb, Thomas Lang, Greyson Nekrutman, Wim DeVries... Granted, many are German and may have some patriotic motivation toward that choice, but nevertheless I think Meinl cymbals are just beginning to attract a greater share of the American market - not up to the Big Four or Five quite yet, but I do think they're on the climb. They are excellent cymbals, IMO.
 

jeffhowe

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So it's known that Zildjian, Sabian, Paiste and Meinl are the "big four" of cymbal companies in terms of age, size of the artist roster, innovation and sales but with all the companies that have been sprouting up in recent years what would be the company you'd add to that category if we were to round up the big four to a solid round five? I can think of two - in terms of age, UFIP. Been making cymbals since 1931 which is before Sabian and Meinl even started and and before even really Paiste got a strong leg in the game with more modern cymbals. In terms of overall popularity and innovation, Istanbul Agop. Especially since the people who started the company cut their teeth making the first few variations of the Zildjian K line and have kept the idea of "Turkish made" cymbals alive. They've also introduced a ton of new ideas and concepts over the past few years and have had no trouble expanding their roster and quite a few artists who used to endorse one of the "big four" have moved over to them over the years more so than any other newer brand.
Dream.
 

drummaman1

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I could never talk global numbers, myself. The only numbers I can talk are my local drum store. They sell so much Zildjian, it’s crazy how quickly it sells. Sabian doesn’t do as well because of its distribution system, and he rarely stocks Paiste because if I or a handful of paiste guys don’t buy that gear, it’s sitting there.

He would do well with Meinl, but the price of entry is too risky, Meinl has a store buy $5k worth of gear regardless of if is sells or not. He doesn’t want that risk, and he’s doing well selling Zildjian, so he doesn’t worry about Meinl.

He’s had better luck with Agop over Mehmet as far as those cymbals are concerned. We have a great group of jazz drummers in our city, most of them play Agop. They’d probably play more Mehmet if the dealer answered their phone or their emails once in awhile. But now because of Covid, even Agop has been difficult to get to the store. So, it’s a wash…
 

Rich K.

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Non scientific observations;

It seems nearly every youtube/Facebook phenom drummer I watch is playing Meinl.

I flip a lot of lower end intermediate type sets that always come with cymbals, most cheap, some good.
65% seem to be Zildjians...either zbt/zxt/zht or high end models
25% are Sabian... predominantly B8s, but with an occasional AAX or hhx.
Recently made Tama lower end sets have Meinl hcs. I've rarely ever seen any good Meinls.
Used to see lower end Paistes like Alphas, 404, post etc. Now I rarely see those and almost never has there been a high end Paiste.
And whenever there are good sticks, mostly they're Vic Firth.
 


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